For many self-proclaimed Ironman-triathlon addicts it isn't the scent of fall in the air that sends a rush of renewed enthusiasm, but rather the sense of urgency to sign up for next year's Ironman race. With many events selling out within 24 hours, there's incredible pressure to sign up 12 months in advance.
Tens of thousands of people drop over $600 in race entry costs every year without knowing certain their financial, health and family situation come the following year. And that doesn't include the hundreds of dollars spent on travel, housing, food, bike transport, child/dog daycare and training (coaching, massage, equipment, maintenance) costs.
So why do they do it? This is precisely the question many addicts or newbies don't even consider before signing up.
For all the sacrifices you (and your family) will have to make in order to reach this goal, you should have a clear purpose for doing it.
Should You Sign Up?
Whether it's your first or tenth, here are some things you should consider before taking the plunge.
Finances: What is your financial status or your predicted status a year from now? Could you be investing in coaching, equipment or education instead that could make you faster or more efficient for an Ironman race two years from now?
Motivation: Do you need a massive new goal to motivate you and your training? This could be just what you need! Or you could be setting yourself up for disaster. Make sure you have a solid base of training before signing up. The "couch to Ironman" program is not recommended.
Distractions: Are you avoiding other projects in your life? Athletes often use training as a distraction. It's a means of feeling accomplished while at the same time procrastinating the projects that have been on the back burner (career; personal relationships; finances).